Features October 2008 Issue

Last Call for Top-Rated Bottom Paints After Two Years

Our two-year test wraps up with 20 top-rated paints. Unlike the last two-year results when hard paints dominated, the group is split with 10 self-polishing or ablative paints and 10 hard paints. Our Recommended, Best Choice, and Budget Buy picks also are divided pretty evenly.

In past rating cycles for this panel set (October 2007 and March 2008), Interlux Micron 66 and Sea Hawk Biocop TF were named top picks. These two still lead the

Top-Rated Bottom Paints
The majority of this year’s graduating paint class did not include anti-slime additives. The coatings were largely still intact after two years.
pack at the two-year mark. Both are expensive, with Micron 66 costing $220 per gallon and Biocop TF ringing in at $228 per gallon. They also both use zinc pyrithione as an anti-slime agent.

Our top bright-color paint after two years in the water is Blue Water Kolor—another expensive paint, priced at $170 per gallon. The top-performing two-year paint suitable for race boats is Interlux’s VC Offshore. Pettit Trinidad SR, well polished, would also be a good choice for racing.

Two hard paints tied for our Budget Buy picks at two years: Blue Water Sea Bowld Coastal 45 and Interlux Epoxycop. For the ablative paints, the Blue Water MarPro Super-B Ablative gets the Budget Buy pick.

Irgarol remains a common and effective anti-slime agent when used in conjunction with a copper antifoulant. Still, the majority of our top two-year paints use no anti-slime agents, and only three use the more expensive zinc-based compounds. When used as a standalone antifouling agent, neither Irgarol nor any zinc-based chemicals have stood up to long-term testing.

As we reported in the 18-month update on these test panels (March 2008), no water-based or aluminum-friendly paints performed well enough to make the cut for our long-term test. The best rated only Fair, so you won’t find them in the two-year chart. (Only paints scoring Good or better make the long-term chart.) But of those water-based paints we tested, Pettit Hydrocoat, Flexdel Aquagard, and Interlux’s Fiberglass Bottomkote Aqua performed the best at two years, earning mostly Fair ratings. For aluminum boats or those in areas where copper content is restricted, we recommend Epaint ZO or Pettit Alumacoat SR.

Disregarding the freshwater paints that perennially do poorly in our long-term saltwater testing, we found two of the lowest-rating paints after two years to be Epaint EP-21 and Sea Hawk Mission Bay CSF. Another noteworthy finding was the collapse of Interlux Bottomkote XXX from mostly Good rating in the early going to only Poor and Fair ratings beyond the 18-month point.

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